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"I couldn’t have imagined a life without my extra siblings"

Olivia Davies is an 18-year-old student, who from the age of three has grown up in a household of fostering. She shares her experience of living with foster children over the last 15 years.

August 25 2020 - 4 min read

Olivia Davies Birth Child that fosters

Most birth children state that they are happy being a part of a fostering family and recognise the benefits of the experience. Olivia Davies is an 18-year-old student, who from the age of three has grown up in a household of fostering.

She shares her experience of living with foster children over the last 15 years.

“For as long as I can remember my parents have been fostering, so all I’ve ever known, along with my birth sister, is having other children to share our home with.

I have lots of memories of our first foster child who was with us for around two years, which really helped me to understand fostering and how the process works.

We have a young child living with us now, Bethany*, who is an absolute pleasure to have around. Living with foster children for the majority of my life has only enhanced my desire to bond with each child more.

When our family first started fostering, the children were all older, aged 15 and above, which was really lovely for me and my sister having older children to play with whilst growing up.

It always felt so normal welcoming other children into our home, even at such a young age. It’s been a permanent process throughout my whole life and from what I remember they all quickly became like brothers and sisters.

It’s always difficult when you have to wave goodbye to a child, as it feels like you’re losing a sibling. But I feel content knowing that as a family we have enhanced their lives in many different ways and provided the love and support they’ve needed to excel in life.

When I grew older and became a teenager, we started to foster younger children, so I’ve had a lot more involvement with the children in recent years. I think with age I’ve also become more caring and compassionate towards the children and shown more interest. This has enabled me to focus on building stronger relationships with our foster children.

One thing that I’ve learnt over the years is that I’m extremely grateful for all the wonderful relationships I’ve built with all the children. This has been more noticeable as I’ve got older, and I take comfort in knowing that they aren’t gone forever. Children that have moved on always come back to visit and I make sure I keep in contact with them regularly.

Just because they are no longer living with us doesn’t mean they are no longer part of our family. Every child that comes through our front door will always remain a priority within our family.

Birth child that fosters

My parents have been extremely kind and considerate throughout the whole process. They treat us all equally, which has really helped the foster children to feel part of our family.

We’ve had eight children live with us in the last 15 years, but that hasn’t once impacted on my family life or how I’m treated as a birth child. Our family is really open with each other and I think that has developed over the years, due to fostering.

I’m so proud of the number of stories we have from our many years of fostering, from giving children a brighter future, to seeing them go on and have their own children - it really is one of the most rewarding parts of my life.

For me and my sister, sharing our home with foster children has been really influential and has really impacted our lifestyle and certainly dictated the paths we’ve favoured as we’ve grown up.

We’ve both chosen careers in the health and social care sector. My sister has become a Police Officer and I’m studying to become a midwife. I feel this is all down to our passion of wanting to give back to the community, after spending our childhood surrounded by children that have been less fortunate than us.

Admittedly, there’s been a few challenges along the way with a couple of breakdowns in relationships, but equally that has also happened between me and my birth sister, so nothing that you wouldn’t expect from children of a young age. On the whole, it’s really enhanced my childhood and I couldn’t have imagined a life without my extra siblings.

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